HGV crashes off Severn Bridge as surgeon races to save driver

Gloucestershire surgeon Charlie Chan was among the first people on scene after a lorry crashed down an embankment at the M4 Prince of Wales bridge. His efforts to save the male driver, who he administered CPR to, sadly proved in vain as it was confirmed he had died later in hospital of his injuries. Dr Chan climbed into the cab with the two firefighters and helped them until paramedics and the air ambulance arrived at the scene on Wednesday afternoon.

UPDATE: Lorry driver in M4 Severn Bridge crash dies of injuries, police confirm

But although he was hailed a hero by some he said: “It was just one of those things you have got to do.

You go on auto pilot really.” Mr Chan is a well-know surgeon and cancer specialist at Cheltenham General Hospital. He is famous as the doctor who saved  musician Wilko Johnson’s life after persuading him to  seek a second opinion when he received a terminal pancreatic cancer diagnosis in 2013.

Today he tried to save the life a truck driver who collapsed at the wheel while driving to Wales.

Read More

 Traffic Wales camera image shows the lorry has gone off the carriageway

Motorists speculated that if it had happened a few minutes later the HGV could have plunged over the side of the bridge. Dr Chan said: “It was a 50-year-old Romanian truck driver and we think he had a heart attack at the wheel. “He careered across the carriageway into the central reservation and ended up down an embankment on the Western side of the bridge.

“I was driving to an appointment when I came across a short traffic jam and saw the central reservation had been smashed up and all these people at the side of the road looking down to the riverside. “I just ran down the embankment and came across two firemen and an unconscious driver in the cab. It was a real struggle getting into the cab but I climbed in and performed CPR until the air ambulance arrived and took him to hospital.”

HGV crashes off Severn Bridge as surgeon races to save driverA Traffic England camera showing an empty Severn Brdige after it was closed this morning following a serious crash

Read More


The crash closed the Prince of Wales Bridge, the second Severn Crossing, and caused major congestion in the area with traffic being diverted via Chepstow.

After the patient was flown to hospital the doctor tweeted that he had done his good deed for the day. The driver’s condition is unknown and the bridge is still closed. A statement from Gwent Police said: “The male driver of the HGV lorry was airlifted to University Hospital Wales, with serious injuries.

No other motorists were injured.”

HGV crashes off Severn Bridge as surgeon races to save driverWilko Johnson band will be performing in Cheltenham

Read More


Outside work the surgeon, who dreamed of being a doctor from the age of 12, takes pictures of rock stars such as Jamie Cullum.

Mr Chan arranged for Wilko Johnson to see surgeon Emmanuel Huguet  who later operated to remove the tumour and saved the musician’s life.

He once said photography was like surgery because it was all about people’s stories.

You may also like...